Primary Perception









Dracaena Plant



Early Observations



1st Published Experiment



Initial Reactions from Scientists



Observing Eggs



Live Bacteria



Human Cells



Biocommunication Research


p. 13 learning hypnotism

"hypnosis ... books ... impressed me, by authors such as George Estabrooks and Milton Erickson."

p. 14 success in hypnotism

1942 "About a third of the audience would go into some stage of hypnosis, a number of them quite deeply. The deeper subjects were used for the demonstrations that followed."

pp. 14-5 belief in redincarnation

1942 "The Theosophical Society ... introduced me to Eastern ideas such as the notion of ... reincarnation."

p. 17 medical use of hypnotism

1948 At Walter Reed Hospital near Washington, D.C., "My activities included lectures and demonstrations of hypnotic induction techniques".

pp. 18-20 polygraph business

p. 18

"I left ... to serve as director of the Keeler Polygraph Institute in Chicago. At that time this was the only available classroom type school teaching the use of the polygraph. ...

p. 19

A short time later I moved back to Washington, D.C. and established a commercial polygraph consulting business ... . ... My private polygraph work expanded to a second office in Baltimore, MD. and finally in 1959, a complete move to NewYork City."

p. 20, n. 1

"The Backster Research Foundation ... was established in 1965 primarily for the purpose of conducting research relating to the advancement of polygraph (lie detection) technique and the improvement of polygraph instrumentation. In 1966 the research emphasis expanded to include biocommunication research."

pp. 23-5 discovery of mind-reading ability in plants (Feb 1966)

p. 23

"the plant ... exhibited ... a reaction pattern typical of a human subject who might have been ... experiencing the fear of detection ... . ...

p. 24

I then thought, "... this plant read my mind!" ...

p. 25

"My plant just read my mind!""

p. 29 plantsí detection of human intent

"there had to be a real intent to do something harmful in order to observe a chart reaction. ... The plants seemed to know when you didnít mean it. They appeared to pick up the difference between your pretense and your true intent."

p. 29 Bose

"emotions were attributed to plants through research in India conducted by Jagadis Chandra Bose."

p. 31 plant territoriality

"in the next office suite, unconnected to the lab, there could be human activity only twenty feet away from where the plant is, and yet, with rare exceptions, the plant would not sense the activity in that unrelated space. But fifty or sixty feet away within the same interconnected lab space, the plant would be attuned and react".

p. 31 plant-to-caretaker attunement

"plants ... have an affinity to the person who takes care of them. ... I found that the moment I decided to return to where that plant was, the plant often showed a fairly significant reaction, especially when my decision to return was made in a spontaneous manner."

p. 33 tone-generator as testing-device

"I would at times use ... a tone generator ... to be alerted when the plant appeared to sense something. ... The tone generator ... allowed the events causing the reactions to be more spontaneous."

pp. 33-4 attunement to non-human life-forms

p. 33

"I found that the plants were very sensitive to the death of a wide variety of microscopic lifeĖforms. ...

p. 34

When other life forms were being injured, the plant apparently perceived its well being as threatened."

p. 37 detection by a fruit

1966 "Looking at the oscilloscope, we could see that the signal from the orange spiked while the knife was on its way down, before it actually hit. ... if we dropped the knife with the intention of missing the orange, there was no signal during its descent."

pp. 38, 42 Burr

p. 38

1966 At Old Lyme, Connecticut, "Dr. Harold Saxton Burr ... was able to draw a link between the treeís electrical changes and sun spot activity. ... His research was later described in his book, Blueprint for Immortality."

p. 42, n. 3

"Harold Saxton Burr, Blueprint for Immortality ... (London, Neville Spearman, Ltd. 1972). ... Also Edward W. Russell wrote Design for Destiny (new York : Ballantine, 1973) describing Professor Burrís research".

pp. 40-1 non-electromagnetic signal in telepathy

p. 40

"this communication ... signal ... was not within the known electromagnetic frequencies, AM, FM, or any form of signal which could be

p. 41

shielded by ordinary means. Distance seemed to impose no limitation. I made observations that suggested tat this signal could traverse dozens, even hundreds of miles. It seemed that the signal may not even fall within the electromagnetic spectrum."

p. 41 how not to be altering the outcome

"If you watch the phenomenon to closely, you may already be affecting it. Once you allow your own consciousness to interact in an observation, you may already be altering its outcome. ... the only successful way to eliminate interference ... was to completely automate the experiment."

p. 47 totally automated experimentation for eliminating the human experimenterís mental interference with the experiment

"Earlier experience had shown us that when we attempted to remain in the lab area during any phase of the experiment run, the plants appeared to be tuned into our presence. When this happened, human presence easily took priority over ... an event ... . To completely address this problem we had to have someone not connected with the lab personnel purchase the plants and place them in a holding area where ... I had not prior contact with them. ... Leaving the plants no opportunity to become attuned to us we would quickly activate ... the laboratory, and exit the building ... . The plants were left alone in the lab. Only when we were extremely careful to follow this procedure did we get really good data."

p. 48 publications in 1967 & in 1968

1967 "I gave a presentation before the Tenth Annual Parapsychology Association meeting in New York City. In December, 1967, the Journal of Parapsychology published an abstract on our plant research (Vol. 31, No. 4)."

1968 "A report of the experiment titled "Evidence of Primary Perception in Plant Life" was published in the Winder, 1968 edition of the International Journal of Parapsychology."

p. 49 teaching automation of biology-experimentation

"there needs to be ... a way to convince the academic community to include in their science courses methods of properly automating biology oriented experiments. I belief that the need for automation and for ... methods of achieving meaningful automation is mandatory when attempting biocommunication research. Otherwise, the repeatable experiment will be elusive."

pp. 49-50 quaestions (on methodology of experimentation), whereto a positive answer would indicate vitiation (by faulty procedure) of the experiment

p. 49

Has the plant intended for use already been in the lab more than an hour or two prior to being used in an experiment?

Are there animal experiments going on in the lab at the same time plant experimentation is occurring?

p. 50

Was any life form being injured or terminated near the plantís location during the experimentation?

Had the plant tested already bonded with the experimenter? Even a casual daily encounter such as watering the plant appears to create a bond.

Is there any one of a variety of other interferences occurring in the research environment, such as noise, visitors, or even a phone conversation?"

pp. 51-4 favorable reviews (of the authorís publications) in various journals & in books

p. 51

"When a ... article about the research appeared in the April, 1969 issue of Electro-Technology magazine 4,950 scientists responded, requesting more information.


In Main Currents, a respected philosophical journal, Fritz Kunz wrote [p. 71, n. 1 : "May-June, 1969. Vol. 25 No. 5 ... . Feeling in Plants by F. L. Kunz, p. 143s."] : "Employing the same kind of polygraph which is used to test emotional stimulation in human subjects, Cleve

p. 52

Backster has found that ... a life signal may connect all creation.""

p. 53

"Arthur Ford, a famous medium, ... In his last book, The Life Beyond Death, ... stated in the epilogue [p. 72, n. 2 : "Arthur Ford, written with Jerome Ellision, The Life Beyond Death (New York : G. P. Putnamís Sons c1971) p. 167."] :

Cleve Backster ... has shown that ...

p. 54

the force which communicates emotional intent ... easily penetrates any known physical obstacle, including walls of lead and concrete."

pp. 57-8 successful replication (of the authorís experiment) by another experimenter

p. 57

"In 1972, Soviet scientist, V. N. Pushkin, in a ... article entitled "Flower Recall," describes his successful replication of my research with plants. This was accomplished they their use of EEG, rather than GSR instrumentation. His research team ..., using hypnosis to attune a person seated one meter away from a household germanium attached to their EEG instrumentation. They were able to get reactions from the plant each time the subject was emotionally stimulated using hypnotic suggestion. In his 1972 article [p. 72, n. 4 : "Prof. V. N. Pushkin ... . Flower, Recall! Published in November, 1972 issue of ZNANIYA SILA (Knowledge is Power) translated by Christopher Bird."], he postulates : ...

p. 58

"A psyche exists, it would seem, in living cells devoid of a nervous system. ... research into the contact of plant with man can shed light on some of the most urgent problems in contemporary psychology.""

pp. 58-9 admiration (for the authorís methodology of experimentation) by other scientists

p. 58

"In June, 1973, I was appointed chairman of one of the seven sections at the International Conference on Psychotronic Research, in Prague. My section was entitled Plant, Animal and Human Communication. ... attending reputable scientists from the Soviet Union expressed their enthusiasm and asked to have their picture taken with me!"


"December 11, 1973 issue of the Christian Science Monitor. ...

p. 59

Dr. Harold Puthoff, then physicist at Stanford Research Institute, said : "I ... regard Backsterís work ... . The way he conducts his experiments is pretty good. ...""

pp. 59-60 efforts by other researchers in plant-emotions experimentation

p. 59

"In 1973 Dorothy Retallack authored a book entitled, The Sound of Music and Plants [Santa Monica (CA) : Devorss & Co, c. 1973. p. 96], describing her quite carefully conducted series of experiments at Temple Buell College, now part of the University of Denver. ... a detailed account of her research is provided in The Secret Life of Plants, chapter 10.

Marcel Vogelís involvement in plant biocommunication research ... was for him to give a course ... for IBM engineers and scientists. The account ... is also detailed in The Secret Life of Plants, chapter 2. ... Richard Allen had

p. 60

organized a meeting of plant research enthusiasts in Long Beach. I was one of those attending, along with Marcel Vogel and Dorothy Retallack." n

pp. 60-1 praise by Dr. Charles R. Granger, PhD

p. 60

"Charles R. Granger ... at Cornell University, got a group ... to replicate my published ... experiment. ...

p. 61

Dr. R. Grangerís introduction of me at the University of Missouri Science and Mankind Conference in March, 1974 ... : ...

Mr. Backster ... developed the effective and widely used Zone Comparison Polygraph Technique. ... He has been an expert witness at a Congressional hearing on polygraph usage in government. He is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the American Polygraph Association."

pp. 63-4 publications of bibliographies of the authorís researches in plant-telepathy

p. 63

"During my testimony on polygraph-related matters back in June, 1974 before a subcommittee of the Ninety-third U.S. Congress, ... I ended ... requesting that they place into their record an already prepared listing of ... lectures I had given to scientific and academic groups dating back to ... 1969."


"In 1974, an annotated bibliography titled "Evoked Biological Responses of Plants," was published by Mankind Research Unlimited, Inc. Washington D.C. ... Included

p. 64

were more than 150 entries, most of them making direct or indirect reference to my work. A foreword ... written by Stanley Krippner, Ph.D. ... states : "... plants demonstrate primary perception ... . Advances in the study of plants might lead to a greater understanding of telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and psychokinesis among human subjects.""

pp. 64-5, 69 AAAS

p. 64

"I defended my research in 1975 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting held that year in New York City. ...

p. 65

I was introduced as the "father of primary perception.""

p. 69

"The well-known anthropologist, Margaret Mead, was present at the meeting and I understand that she commented to her friend, Jean Houston, "... such a good job of ... Backster!" ... I had the pleasure of first meeting Jean Houston in 1971 when she and her husband, Robert Masters, visited my lab."

p. 71 in Brazil

"During July of 1976 I was invited to the First Brazilian Congress for Parapsychology and Psychotronics. Involved were presentations of my biocommunication research, first in Rio de Janeiro and then in Sao Paulo. ... She [the interpretress] took me to the Center of the Pathway for Spiritual Truth, ... an Umbanda center ... . The staff at the center ... were very enthusiastic about my research.

In June of 1977 I returned to Brazil on a second lecture tour and again went there in July of 1980. ... Those who were in the Umbanda religion practice "psychic healing" ... . A typical ritual for ... this kind of spiritism involved live drumming, energetic dancing ... and blowing cigar smoke on the dancers, some of whom would then become possessed."

pp. 75-6, 81 eggs which pulsate and which communicate by telepathy

p. 75

May 1966 "I noticed small but rapid cyclical serrations on the tracing from an electroded chicken egg ... . They looked very much like human pulse beats on the polygraph chart, except that they were much more rapid ... . The cycle rate observed was around 157 per minute ... . ... Some ... might imply that I was tapping into the etheric field ... . Yet ... this was a non-fertile egg.

it would appear that we were getting into a mysterious area ...,

p. 76

the so-called etheric field that seems to ... get to the right place and do the right thing at the right time."

p. 81

April 1972 "the electroded egg ... notified the other ... eggs of impending danger, causing them to go into a defensive state ... of fainting. ...

I did learn ... that the eggs were ... communicating with each other."

p. 82 telepathy by a plant concerning an egg

April 1972 "all I did was make a decision to break egg # ... . ... When I made that decision, up went the recording pen indicating a reaction from the African violet, ... emanating from the soon-to-be broken egg. ... When I broke egg # ... no additional chart reaction occurred. Here again, this egg appeared to have gone insensitive.

By the way ..., that same African violet would not bloom again for more than two years."

{Would not bloom on account of its embarrassment at have been detected (by the author) in telepathizing with the egg.}

p. 93 prioritizing by bacteria

"yogurt bacteria exhibited an apparent capability to prioritize. ... This technique is based upon ... the flow of "psychological set," or mental prioritizing."

p. 102 do bacteria think?

[quotation from :- Elisabet Sahtouris : Earth Dance : Living Systems in Evolution. 2000] "Why should not bacteria think?"

pp. 114-5, 122 successful replication of human-telepathy experimentation

p. 114

July 1983 "Advanced Human Technology at the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, arranged ...

p. 115

at their agencyís Washington, D.C. area headquarters ... the assembled equipment needed for their replication of our work ... . The replication was successful and it was during this period that high-quality observations were made of human ... biocommunication".

p. 122

"through the efforts of ... the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, my human ... research was successfully replicated.

Through the team headed by Rollin McCraty at HeartMath Instituteís laboratory, many examples of biocommunication have been observed."

pp. 115, 122 publication of human-telepathy experiments

p. 115

"in 1985, Steve White, with the help of Jon Speller, co-authored a report with me entitled Biocommunications Capacity : Human ... . We were asked to submit the report to the refereed International Journal of Biosocial Research. ... The report was accepted for publication."

p. 122, n. 2

"Published in the International Journal of Biosocial Research. Vol. 7 p. 132-146".

pp. 127-8 OíLeary

p. 127

"Brian OíLeary received his Ph.D. in astronomy at the University of California at Berkeley, has served on the faculties of Cornell University, California Institute of Technology, and Princeton University. ...

p. 128

Brian described his visit to my lab ... in his book entitled, Exploring Inner and Outer Space. ... Other visits were made to my lab and he was very instrumental in arranging my participation as a keynote speaker at functions sponsored by the International Forum on New Science in Colorado."

pp. 128-9 Stone

p. 128

"I had become acquainted with the late Robert B. Stone, Ph.D., through lectures we both provided for students studying the Jose Silva method of mental discipline. Working with the Silva group, particularly my participation in their international meetings, allowed me to travel to numerous foreign countries during the 1970ís and 1980ís. Robert Stone had authored or co-authored numerous books and agreed to closely collaborate with me while authoring the book entitled, The Secret Life of Your Cells, published in 1989. [p. 147, n. 5 : "Robert B. Stone, Ph.D., The Secret Life of Your Cells (Westchester, PA : Whitford Press, 1989)."] ...

p. 129

I understand the Japanese translation is in its six printing."

pp. 129-30 Retallack

p. 129

"In 1993, Dorothy Retallack, twenty years after the publication of her book, The Sound of Music

p. 130

and Plants ..., ... finished ... her ... second book entitled, How Music Affects You and Your Plants, Too."

Dorothy L Retallack : The Secret Power of Music : How Music Affects You and Your Plants. Largo, Fla. : Top of the Mountain, 1994.

pp. 131, 147 HeartMath

p. 131

"in 1993, I was invited to serve on the Institute of HeartMath Scientific Advisory Board".

p. 147, n. 6

"Howard Martin wrote about HeartMath : "An innovative view of psychology, physiology, and human potential that provides a new model for ... tapping the hidden power of the heart."

p. 132 Dubrov & CIHS

"I learned of ... the English translation of the 1982 Russian textbook entitled, Parapsychology and Contemporary Science by A. P. Dubrov and V. N. Pushkin. A detailed description of the plant research of Pushkin, Fetisov, and Angushev is reported in the textbook chapter entitled "Communication between Man and Plants."

"Alexander P. Dubrov, who has ... a Ph.D. in Plant Physiology, was an adjunct faculty member at the California Institute for Human Science (CIHS) [p. 147, fn. 9 : "founded by Hiroshi Motoyama, PhD"] located in Encinitas, California. During July, 1995, ... Prof. Dubrov ... was brought from Encinitas to San Diego by Dr. Jerry Livesay, then Dean of Academic Affairs at CIHS ... .

In June of 1996, I was awarded an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree by the California Institute for Human Science, and made a resident faculty member of that institution, where I have since periodically taught a course entitled "Cellular Biocommunication Theory and Research.""

p. 133 in Ceylon

"In December of 1996 I was invited to Colombo, Sri Lanka to participate in an alternative medicine conference ... hosted by the Open International University for Complementary Medicines. ... Later in the program I was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree by the Universityís Faculty of Medical Studies. ... Scientists who had traveled from India attending that conference were especially interested in my research."

p. 134 award for distinguished service

"within the polygraph community, in 1997 I was the recipient of their "Leonarde Keeler Memorial Award for Long and Distinguished Service to the Polygraph Profession."... I have given advanced polygraph training at most all of the APA annual meetings".

p. 136 graduate-students & professionals are deterred from careers in biocommunication

"students are afraid to make grant requests relating to such studies. ... to some it has been implied that such activity might be risky for their future."

"Arthur Galston ... reveals ... : "Why should we ... risk our careers on this ...?""

pp. 137-8 von Ward & UofS&Ph

p. 137

"Trough Brian oíLeary ..., I first met Paul Von Ward in Fort Collins, Colorado where we were both keynote speakers before 1991 International Forum on New Science. Paul is ... the author of a fascinating book entitled Our Solarian Legacy. [p. 148, n. 13 : Paul von Ward : Our Solarian Legacy (Charlottesville, VA : Hampton Roads Publ, 2001). Sequel to : Solarian Legacy.] ...

p. 138

After interviewing me in connection with one of his monthly articles for a journal, The Cosmic Light, published by University of Science and Philosophy, I was introduced by Paul to that organizationís ... Yasuhiko Kimura, and Laara Lindo ..., both of whom later interviewed me at length for an article entitled, "The Secret Life of Cleve Backster." [p. 148, n. 15 : "Spring, 2001 issue of the Cosmic Light".] I ..., in May 2001, was awarded their first Walter Russell Award for "Outstanding Lifetime Creative Achievement in Frontier Science.""

p. 148, n. 14

pp. 138-40 CIHF

p. 138

"The Center for the Improvement of Human Functioning is located Wichita, Kansas and is headed by Hugh D. Riordan, M.D. ... In September, 2000 I was invited to a special conference on human functioning. As one of the faculty members participating in earlier conferences, during this occasion I was one of those honored for pioneering work. ... I expressed my concern over the critical relationship between the spontaneity required for meaningful observations of biocommunication at work, and the repeatability requirements contained in the current interpretation of the "scientific method." I ... include that statement ... :

p. 139

... observational correlations are not presently acceptable as a substitute for the scientific methodís featured "replication" requirement ... . After numerous attempts to design a repeatable

p. 140

experiment, the weakness of such a traditional approach has become increasingly evident. ... If such phenomena requires spontaneity, a basic conflict exists as relating to the accumulation of traditional scientific data requiring repetition of the same event. ... If we are to make progress in consciousness research, it would seem that an appropriate modification of the "repeatability" requirement" must be necessitated.

{If the experimented-on minds are telepathically following the experimentersí minds, then the experimented-on minds can easily evade and thwart the possibility of producing meaningful results in any experiment. As such, direct application of the humdrum repetitiveness of the so-called "scientific method" to investigate cases of telepathy must perforce be countre-productive and infunctional, for those investigated will soon become bored with the repetitiveness and thus fail to respond. Besides, the minds who have already been experimented-on will telepathically at a distance forewarn any further minds which may be experimented-on in the future, not to respond to any recurrence of such experiment.}

p. 141 Friedman on physicsí intrinsic lack of experimental repeatability

"Norman Friedman, author of The Hidden Domain, has offered this explanation :

... according to my version of quantum theory, matter does not produce consciousness. It is the other way around. Consciousness produces material events. ... From ... the freedom of consciousness ..., there is no assurance of repeatability."

Norman Friedman : The Hidden Domain, Home of the Quantum Wave Function. Eugene, OR : Woodbridge Group, 1997.

pp. 142-3 remote-viewing

p. 142

"During June 14-16, 2002 the International Remote Viewing Association held a conference in Austin, Texas ... . I was asked to give a presentation at this conference. ...

p. 143

Back in New York City in 1972, I had inadvertently provided the original contact between the two historic figures central to the start of the ... history of remote viewing, Ingo Swann and Hal Puthoff."

p. 148, n. 18

pp. 143-4 Unified Science Conference

p. 143

"From September 21 to September 27, 2002 the ... University of Science and Philosophy (USP) sponsored a closed event in Los Angeles entitled The Unified Science Conference ... . ...

p. 144

I ... was very pleased with the positive reception of my presentation entitled, "Primary Perception as a Basis for Biocommunication.""

Cleve Backster : Primary Perception : Biocommunication with Plants, Living Foods and Human Cells. White Rose Millennium Pr, Anza (CA), 2003.